Opera and Poet


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A Passion for Opera
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This third book of poems by Peter Fox Smith mostly portrays many different manifestations of womanhood from a man's perspective. Joys, wonders, and problems of the female sex are poetically treated as is the pessimism that can be part of life's varied and difficult experiences. Accordingly, Peter was, in his early Harvard days, one of the first to become familiar with and to ponder the poetry of Sylvia Plath and in his own distinctive voice, like her, one often finds in SISTERS OF EVE references to a world which is not well and wonderful. In this also a kinship with the English poet Philip Larkin suggests itself.

Peter is a reactionary in his retention of some semblance of rhyme and meter, even adhering to traditional verse forms at times. He eschews the fact that much contemporary poetry is merely prose chopped into pieces and made to look like poems on the printed page. The following brief poem is about one of his students who died young soon after her marriage.

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Spread her ashes
On the woodland trail,
Her husband asked of me,
On fallen leaves where she ran,
On paths of needles of pine.

I did what I must do
And walked away with
A veil of Chrisandra's dust
Clinging to my shoe.

October 20, 2000

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